June 8 COVID-19 Presser

Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan speaks Monday, June 8, 2020, during a press conference at the Brazos County Health District.

The Brazos County Health District hosted a press conference that featured local health and education officials.

Brazos County Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan started the June 8 conference with an update on the coronavirus in the county. To date, there have been 634 confirmed cases, 198 recovered patients, 22 deaths and 9,214 total tests for COVID-19 performed. There are currently 13 hospitalizations and 436 active cases in Brazos County. Below are the main takeaways from the conference.

Positivity rates

Positivity rates refer to the percentage of the tests for COVID-19 that come back positive. Sullivan said tracking positivity rates is beneficial to the department because they assist with contact tracing, which is the process by which health officials determine who is likely to catch the virus from a positive patient. More recently, the rates have increased with the influx of tests being performed, with rates at the end of May reaching around 8.97 percent, which is double the rate of the previous week.

Sullivan said mobile testing sites do allow for fast, convenient testing, however the test results do take longer to come back. Additionally, Sullivan said the positivity rates for these sites have been very low.

Medical and educational concerns

Sullivan encouraged anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, as well as those who are just feeling unwell, to seek medical attention. He also said if anyone has tested positive for the virus, then everyone living in the same household should quarantine themselves. By doing this, they can lessen the chance of spreading the virus outside and creating a larger cluster of positive cases.

“Whether it’s an acute health concern, whether it’s a chronic health condition that is worsening or it’s just routine check-ups, check in with your doctor,” Sullivan said. “Be sure that you are getting the care that you need before it is too late.”

Another health concern Sullivan addressed is an increase in strokes with COVID-19 patients. Unlike normal strokes, strokes related to COVID-19 have been recorded in patients with ages ranging from 30 to late 50s. Sullivan said this could be the result of effects to the lining of blood vessels, causing an increased risk of blood clotting, which could lead to a stroke.

Holidays and vacations

With holidays such as Father’s Day and Independence Day coming up, as well as pre-planned summer vacations, Sullivan said to consider a “staycation” as a more healthy alternative. When people gather in large groups indoors, it can increase the risk of contracting the virus because there is less ventilation. He also reminded the viewers that over 50 percent of the positive cases were the result of clusters, and further urged people to avoid large gatherings.

“We did expect that as we have more gatherings as we open that we’re going to see more cases,” Sullivan said. “We have to do our very, very best to keep that as minimal as possible.”

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